It wasn’t all that long ago that Americans bought full-size, rear-drive, body on frame passenger cars in numbers large enough to more than justify producing them. However, sales of coupe versions of these leviathans tanked before the bottom fell out of the entire segment. But the market for big sedan-based two-doors still had a pulse in ’78; how else could Chevrolet have moved 33,990 of these Impala Coupes?
This was the second year for the General’s downsized B-bodies, whose 116” wheelbase chassis would carry on virtually unchanged until the last of the very last examples of the breed drove out of the Arlington, Texas plant in late 1996 to make way for GMT400 SUV production. Each of the B-based models – both of the big Chevy and big Pontiac lines plus the Olds Delta 88, Buick LeSabre – were available in duoporte form (The Buick Riviera also used the B chassis for 1977 and ’78.), but only the Bowtie Bros (Proletariat Impala and fancy-pants Caprice) used the doubly delicious greenhouse seen here.
No, your eyes do not deceive you, hoons: Those lumps on the C-pillars/quarter panels are indeed some not-so-subtle tributes to Wilhelm Hofmeister’s kräftig kink. Of course, the GM badge engineers stylists weren’t content to stop there; there’s also that elongated, hot-wire-bent backlight stretching out toward the coupes’ caboose. GM took the origami window fastback thing to the extreme when designing the Chevy and Pontiac NASCAR homologation models less than a decade later. Sadly, this svelte and Swabian roofline went the way of Jimmy Carter’s poll numbers in 1980, as the facelifted Impala and Caprice two-doors took on a silhouette that featured four-sided quarter window openings and a back window flatter than Karen Carpenter’s abs. (Yeah, I’m going to Hell, but so are you for giggling.) Ya. Awn.
What about this particular example? It’s claimed to have been a SoCal car since day one (though it apparently calls Chi-Town home now), having been born at the long-gone South Gate plant, and accrued all of 37,724 miles at the hands of, you guessed it, an elderly couple. Locomotion is provided by a 305/3-speed slusher combo, and aside from some minor wear described by the seller, this baby appears to be cherry (or blueberry, given the color combo).
Price? At this writing the bidding is at $4,650. Why would anyone want to shell out that kind of coin for a vehicle that, as Tomsk Sr. almost gleefully points out, is from an era when every GM product in this hemisphere was an amalgam of haphazardly thrown together shyte? Because you want to be different. Because you want to save it from being perched atop spinner rimz so tall Danica Patrick could ride a pogo stick under it without braining herself, having its exterior repainted in radioactive baby scat green, and its interior reupholstered in genuine capybara vulva leather with “Sugah Dadee” embroidered in the driver’s backrest. Because you want to lower it over a set of 16×8 Rally wheels, upgrade to 4-wheel discs, drop in an E-ROD LS3/4L60E and hug him and squeeze him and name him George terrorize the local Temple of VTEC cultists. I hope I’ve managed to convince you that your life is incomplete if this automobile isn’t in it, ‘cuz if I’m the only one who feels that way, I’m likely to place a bid, something I don’t want to do. Except I do. To quote our benevolent overlord, “Blaaaaarg…”